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Live updates on Covid-19 from Scotland, the UK, and around the world.

Live updates on Covid-19 from Scotland, the UK, and around the world.

Scroll down to see the latest news on the pandemic on Friday, June 4.

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Covid Scotland: The latest updates on Friday, June 4

Last updated: Friday, 04 June, 2021, 13:07

  • Number of Covid cases continuing to rise, warns FM
  • Scotland’s shopping footfall ‘still languishing
  • Anger over decision to remove Portugal from 'green list’

Ms Sturgeon said the situation is giving cause for concern but that vaccines are providing hope.

However, she said a “significant proportion” of the population has not yet received both their jabs and it is important to exercise continued care.

The First Minister said: “There is an upside that we didn’t have at the start of the first wave or even at the start of the second wave, and that is of course the vaccines.

“We do need to analyse the data on an ongoing basis so it’s too early to be definitive but the strong indications we have so far are that vaccines are weakening the link between rising cases and cases of hospitalisations, intensive care and people dying.

“That is really encouraging and it is that that is giving us hope we can move beyond the very restrictive approach to dealing with Covid that has been necessary over the past year, or in fact more than a year now.

“Although that link appears to be weakening, it hasn’t yet been completely broken.”

Ms Sturgeon said the Indian variant, also known as Delta, is driving this.

She said: “Underlying this, and indeed driving all of this, is the new Delta variant which now makes up the majority of all new cases in Scotland.

“This variant is thought to be quite significantly more transmissible than even the Kent variant that we were dealing with at the turn of the year and there is, as you may have seen reported last night and this morning, early data suggesting that, all else being equal, it may increase the risk of hospitalisation.

“Now, hopefully, vaccines are reducing overall the risk of hospitalisation but even if it is a lower risk the early data suggests that this new Delta variant has a higher risk than the variants that went before it.

“But it’s important to say that that is something that is still under investigation and what has been reported in the last 24 hours is early data.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the situation is fragile.

She said: “We are at a very critical juncture right now in what we still very much hope and believe is a transition to a less restrictive way of dealing with Covid, but the position we are in now on that transition is a fragile one.

“On the downside, as we can see, cases are rising again, they have more than tripled over the last month and today the more than 900 cases that have been reported is the highest number of new cases since the 17th of February.

“The R number is now estimated to be above 1, indeed many experts believe that not just Scotland but the UK is now at the start of a third wave of Covid.”

Nicola Sturgeon: "There are still some parts of mainland Scotland where case numbers are very low - or where rising case numbers are associated with defined clusters that are being managed - although today we have at least one case in every health board area."

Nicola Sturgeon acknowledges "frustration" over cautious levels move

NS: "We need to analyse the data on an ongoing basis - so it is too early to be definitive - but the strong indications so far are that vaccines are weakening the link between rising cases and hospitalisations, intensive care, and people dying."

NS: "That said, there is an upside now too, which we didn’t have at the start of the first or second waves - and that is, of course, the vaccines."

Nicola Sturgeon: "On the downside, cases are rising again - they have more than tripled over the last month. Today we are reporting the highest number of new cases since the 17th of February."

Scotland has recorded two deaths of coronavirus patients and 992 new cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7,676.

The First Minister told a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing the daily test positivity rate is 3.9%, up from 2.8% the previous day.

A total of 116 people were in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up six from the day before, with eight patients in intensive care, no change.

So far, 3,326,005 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 2,170,570 have received their second dose.

Nicola Sturgeon reports 992 new Covid cases on Friday - and two further deaths

Coming up: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hold a virtual coronavirus briefing with chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith at 12.15pm.

Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in 12 to 15-year-olds

The UK has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the use of the jab in the younger age group on Friday following a review of its safety, quality and effectiveness.

The Pfizer Covid-19 jab was the first to be authorised for use in the UK at the end of last year.

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk.

“We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved Covid-19 vaccines and this surveillance will include the 12- to 15-year age group.

“No extension to an authorisation would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.

“It will now be for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise on whether this age group will be vaccinated as part of the deployment programme.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The government has asked the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise whether routine vaccination should be offered to younger people aged 12 to 17.

“We will be guided by the expert advisors and will update in due course.”

More than 2,000 children were involved in the clinical trial to determine the safety of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines said.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed said: “We have been very careful to take into consideration the younger age group and the benefits of this population being vaccinated against any potential risk of side effects. There has been a thorough assessment and review of this data which was also looked at specifically by the CHM’s Paediatric Medicines Expert Advisory Group who are scientific experts within this age group, as well as the CHM’s Covid-19 Vaccines Benefit Risk Expert Working Group.

“We have concluded that based on the data we have seen on the quality, effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, its benefits do outweigh any risk. The MHRA will continue to scrutinise all of the suspected side effects data received through the rigorous surveillance programme in place through the Yellow Card scheme and other safety surveillance measures for all of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK.

“Over 2,000 children aged 12-15 years were studied as part of the randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials. There were no cases of Covid-19 from seven days after the second dose in the vaccinated group, compared with 16 cases in the placebo group. In addition, data on neutralising antibodies showed the vaccine working at the same level as seen in adults aged 16-25 years. These are extremely positive results.”

Cristovao Norte, Portuguese MP for the Algarve, said he is “perplexed” by the British Government’s decision to remove Portugal from the green list.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We were not expecting the decision because there haven’t been major changes in Portugal, just a spike in the Lisbon area.

“But we have 66 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Our rate of transmission is more or less the UK rate, so we weren’t expecting this decision from the English government.

“We wear masks, we obey the rules, we maintain social distancing, vaccination is growing steadily.

“So I’m a little bit perplexed.”

Mr Norte added: “I have to respect the decision. We would like to know sooner. This causes great uncertainty.”

He said it is “a huge blow” on the economy, adding that the country heavily depends on British tourism.

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